By Tegan Burkhard | Photography by Tarah Warren
Thirteen models showcase gorgeous styles from Balliets, Mode and Milo & Lily Boutique as they make their way up and down the wooden pathway, drawing every eye at Dunlap Codding on Film Row. As each beautiful woman commands the catwalk, fundraiser attendees will clap, cheer and perhaps even cry in celebration of these Oklahoma cancer fighters.
“It’s going to be really cool to see these cancer fighters take the runway and have this beautiful makeup done by Teresa [Luz] and styled and feel beautiful,” says Tenaciously Teal Executive Director and founder Tarah Warren, “and just continuing that idea of empowering women in the midst of whatever they’re facing.”
At Care Pack and Cocktails, community members will come together to support Tenaciously Teal, a local nonprofit that goes the extra mile for cancer fighters across the state. Guests will grab a glass from the champagne tower or head to the bar for a signature teal margarita, a symbol of ovarian cancer awareness. While Oklahoma men and women swap stories of loved ones who battled cancer as well as ways Tenaciously Teal has helped their friends and coworkers, Austin-based band AfterBlue will set the tone with their feel-good tunes.
“What is so exciting about this is that this is our first open fundraiser for the public, and so I’ve been excited to see the people who are coming…people I know that support the cause and are passionate about the cause,” Warren says. “And we can all be together in the same room.”
Later in the night, Warren will share her personal story about starting Tenaciously Teal while undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer, as well as shaving her hair on her own terms instead of waiting for it to fall out on its own. Warren even reluctantly let her friend capture stunning photos of her after her shave, inspiring Tenaciously Teal’s Brave Shave and Empowerment Shoot.
“I really didn’t want to at first, but then once I was looking back at some of those pictures, they were really special to me,” Warren says. “And it was a really cool way to commemorate the process, but also I look back at those pictures, and I don’t look like, ‘Oh, I was bald.’ I look at it and I go, ‘I was owning that.’ It empowered me to have those beautiful photos, and so we want to do that for other women.”
Besides the local Brave Shave and Empowerment Shoot, guests decked out in their finest cocktail attire will hear about Tenaciously Teal’s positive impact across the state. Some of the fashion show models, for example, received Tenaciously Teal cancer care packs, filled with practical, thoughtful items to help them get through treatment, from fuzzy socks for cold chemotherapy rooms to Gatorade for maximizing hydration when water starts to taste metallic.
Churches, teams, businesses and other local groups put the Tenaciously Teal care packs together at parties, and the care packs are hand-delivered to 16 treatment centers in Enid, Ada, Norman, Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The ultimate goal is to hand out care packs, gas cards and grocery assistance in all Oklahoma cancer treatment centers, a feat Warren believes is possible thanks to the community-minded spirit of the Sooner state.
“Oklahomans care, and they want to support people around them in their community,” Warren says. “And so we really have been really blessed with all the support.”
At Care Packs and Cocktails, guests will help Tenaciously Teal continue to expand their reach in statewide cancer treatment centers through care packs and gas and grocery assistance while also helping fund Brave Shave and Empowerment Shoots. Attendees can support the cause by placing bids on unique silent auction items or buying raffle tickets with hopes of taking home baskets full of goodies.
From a week visiting a French vacation home to a LifeSquire personal assistant for the day, most goods were procured through locals who support the cause as well as individuals directly impacted by Tenaciously Teal.
Sterling Shepard even donated a signed University of Oklahoma football and a New York Giants jerseys when he heard about one young leukemia patient helped by Tenaciously Teal. After a bow hunter took down 12-year-old Shelby’s therapy dog, Tenaciously Teal granted her a new therapy dog with the help of a generous donor. Once she received her new dog, Shelby named her new companion Sterling after Shepard.
Leading up to the big day, in March, eight women gathered around a meeting room table at Dunlap Codding, hammering out every minute detail of Care Packs and Cocktails. During a quick visit to the outdoor event space, the women discussed logistics of the catwalk, from the pros of renting one to benefits of using the wooden patio instead. Each woman envisioned the night inside her head, sharing wish list items like teal lighting and devising a tentative rainy day plan.
Back inside, stylist Anna Brown put in a request for extra fashion show dressers, while committee member Jennifer Wallis reported on the delicious fried spring rolls appetizer and key lime bite dessert offerings she sampled at the potential food vendor.
From ovarian cancer survivor Karen Hanna and local makeup artist Teresa Luz to Eventures planner Georgiana Hallock and supporters of the cause Brooke Unruh and Kathryn Blalock, all gathered to spread the word about Tenaciously Teal.
“For me to be in this industry, it’s also a service industry, so I love helping people, and I love helping people feel beautiful,” Luz said. “When I came across her [Tarah’s] organization [Tenaciously Teal], I thought, ‘What a great way to combine what I do with helping others.”
As the Care Packs and Cocktails planning committee drew out plans for Tenaciously Teal’s first ever public fundraiser, all excitedly looked forward to drawing attention to the strong cancer fighters on the catwalk in hopes of inspiring more people to support the cause.
“It’s amazing just to look at last year to what we’re planning this year,” Hanna says. “It’s like, wow! In just one year we’ve really upped the game big time. It makes me excited to think about each year it’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger.”
CARE PACKS & COCKTAILS
April 28, 2017 | 6–9 p.m.
Dunlap Codding on Film Row
609 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 73102